Thursday 27 October 2011

Ilam in the Alps

Human activity around Ilam dates back as far as 700BC, when neolithic man built burial barrows on the surrounding hills. The area was settled by both Celts and Romans but became more significant after the death of Bertram and the beginning of pilgrimages to his tomb in the Middle Ages.

Ilam today is a mix of old and newer properties, nestling alongside the River Manifold, sitting close to the border between Derbyshire and Staffordshire and overlooked by Bunster Hill (1079' - half a mountain)

The village school, Ilam C of E (VA) Primary, is housed in this Alpine style building. It was built by Jesse Watts-Russell in the mid 1800s. As the new owner of Ilam Hall, he wanted to improve the view from his property. As a result, he had a large proportion of the village demolished and the people rehoused in newly built alpine style housing. The school was constructed as part of this redevelopment.

These two photographs, from the school website, show the building and pupils from their earliest days. The trees have grown somewhat in the last 130 years!

And the school uniform has seen some changes!

To read more about the school, click here.

This is just one of the Alpine style cottages, which must have looked rather incongruous when they were first constructed, but fit the landscape surprisingly well.


  1. What a surprise finding this type of architecture! You will have to Alpinise the mountain on the photo to fit!
    Lovely sunshine!
    A very interesting post!

  2. It's awesome to think of the Celts and Romans living a life in the same place so many years ago. I love history. I'm surprised at how young some of the school's pupils are! And yes, one of my first thoughts were of how that pine had grown. So glad it's still there! I do love all the green. I'm living in a desert :( Thanks for sharing this. Now I'll go visit the link...

  3. That's such an interesting community - and what a strange history ( and what a tiny waist on the young woman in the photo!)

  4. It is a very pretty village, I wonder what the old village looked like? I hope the new cottages were more comfortable for the tenants of the estate than their old ones. You are right they do fit rather well with the landscape. Love the old school photos:)

  5. For the first picture I thought it was taken somewhere in the South of Germany ! but then the old cottage wasn't the same architecture of cottages there at all ! Love it ! Would suit me to live in there, lol !